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Poster: ChefChappy Date: Oct 29, 2010 2:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: MSNBC and the Dead

For anyone interested, this Sunday at 7:30 AM on "Your Business" on MSNBC they will be discussing marketing lessons learned from the Grateful Dead and how they can help your business today.

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Poster: Jack o' Roses Date: Oct 30, 2010 2:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

"...& the music played the band"

IMvHO,
kindness goes a long way towards success. I really enjoyed reading this thread.

The whole scene is filled with people who want to make things better, more enjoyable, for themselves & others.

I remember my early use of dial-up BBSs & 1st use of the internet it was to find GD set lists from the most recent shows (text only, & you HAD to know the web address, pre-search-engines) something like ftp://gdead.berkeley.edu/pub/gdead/set-lists/.
Sort of off-topic, but I was listening to Hofheinz Pavilion 1977-10-14 just before Playing, Phil says that he wishes they would make a cigarette that would go out after a puff- & you know, most do today. They just had a bunch of good ideas: our entire subculture encourages creativity.

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Poster: hasher Date: Oct 29, 2010 2:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

Lesson: Give stuff away for free now for the purpose of getting more money in return later.

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Poster: Daddy D Date: Oct 29, 2010 3:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

Do you really think they thought that far ahead?? Give me a break . . .

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 29, 2010 6:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

I think they did. Not in terms of digital music and that keeping a vault of soundboard tapes might payoff down the road (might is the operative word there). I do think they felt that by allowing tapers and the trading of tapes they were creating brand loyalty and possibly expanding their audience. It was tapes that a deadhead friend had playing and ultimately shared with me, not the stuff on the radio that got me hooked.

I assume the special is about the recent book on the subject. Based on the interview i heard with the author on Marketplace Morning Report (i posted a link when it aired) he did say that allowing the taping gave the audience the feeling that they were part of the franchise and that is what consumers are interested in.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 29, 2010 9:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: taping digression

You know, I haven't seen the book, but I suspect it follows the same misreading of the Dead's "decisions" that older Dead members with extra hindsight have given us.

The early Dead up to '74 did NOT ALLOW audience tapers (except on rare occasions when they felt magnanimous) - they did their best to get rid of them. Bear, the guy who created the whole concept of sonic journals and a Vault, HATED the idea of fans getting copies of his tapes. They were scared stiff of bootlegs, and at the time a 'tape-trading' scene basically didn't exist. None of them believed that their reference tapes would ever be used for a release - that's why they brought in multitracks when they wanted to "record" for a live album.
The Dead finally gave in and "allowed" tapers in '76 because there were simply so many, they could no longer fight them. The Taper's Section was not created to make taping easier, it was made because so many tapers were barging in they were getting in everyone's way & greatly annoying Healy & the Dead, who decided to at least corral them into one area. (And by that time, 'tape-trading' was in full swing, and the Dead finally caught on that maybe it was helping them.)
So over time, step by step, the Dead gradually reversed themselves and came to "allow" taping, particularly as more SBD tapes kept slipping out through 'friends of the band', Healy patches, radio shows & so on. The final step came when Gans started playing fresh Vault reels on his radio show - and Latvala was hired as an insider who (without the Dead's knowledge as far as I know) started copying shows right & left for friends - and the Dead discovered (to no one's surprise) that live Vault releases would sell endlessly.
By that time, it was easy for the Dead to say, "we allowed it." They were forced into it by their fans.

(Of course, you can always say that Jerry felt kindly towards tapers now & then, post-'76 at least. But remember that he REFUSED to make any decision about the band's policies. A look at Sam Cutler's recent book, where he describes the band's absurd committee-decision-making processes, should cure any notion of their prophetic business acumen.)

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 30, 2010 10:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Mickey Hart on the taping policy

This clip of Mickey talking is illuminating:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkfaXTTu-E8

In short, he admits the Dead initially wanted to confiscate the machines of all the tapers who came - but eventually, so many tapers came, it simply became too much effort to nab them all.
He says it was one of their best decisions, but one made "NOT because we were good businessmen", but made in the typical Dead avoidance style, mainly because "we didn't want to be cops".

"A lot of situations we encountered were solved mostly by waffling, and not addressing the situation."

(Not a lesson taught in many management courses today, I think...)

The band claimed to be mystified as to why they did become successful - but they were clear that they were in some symbiotic relationship with the audience, and the music they made couldn't happen without the fans. Yet what drew the fans seemed mysterious.
Hart illustrates this with one story about a board meeting where Candace came in asking for $100,000 more for her lighting effects. When people demurred, Jerry spoke up saying, "Just give it to her! Maybe they're coming for the lights."

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Oct 31, 2010 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mickey Hart on the taping policy

Thanks for the heads-up. The notes about this clip state, "This video was recorded 10/24/10 at a book signing for author and columnist Joel Selvin's book "Smart Ass" at Copperfield's books in Petaluma, CA."

Mickey says, "More and more people were coming with their cassette machines."
19900708_1880.jpg

In the PBS documentary, "Summer of Love," Joel Selvin says, "The music changed just immediately. I cannot explain to you what it's like to be in a crowd of 5,000 people on LSD with the Grateful Dead, also on LSD, leading the crowd through a series of improvisations. Before that, rock and roll songs were three minutes, period, paragraph, we're out of here."

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Oct 30, 2010 12:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

re: The early Dead up to '74 did NOT ALLOW audience tapers

Jer shooting Tapers

Jerry.jpg

Is that the best you can do, Jer?

dead-head_Monte-monte-taping-shot-by-Jer.jpg

Hell's Angels seized my tapes at the GD Roosevelt Stadium show, on July 31, 1973. That wasn't so funny. I was pretty freaked out by that!

Visit my GD Taper-background web page - the 1973 RFK Stadium GD-taper story is detailed here.

Visit my Taper-vault's "publishing" explanation - here's the theory and explanation behind how I cherry-picked "unique tapes" to be "put out there".

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 29, 2010 10:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

hear hear :-)

That's what I mean by historical perspective. Looking at it without 2010-Speak and without rose-colored 20-20 hindsight.

You also have to toss in Jerry's "when we're done with it, they can have it" ... while leavening that, of course, with the recognition that it was at least partly a typical refusal to make decisions. Just letting the ship go where it may.

Business model ... hmmm ... You know how, at shows, the music would be playing and sometimes things would seem timed to the thunder or whatever? That accidental synchronicity? I think the GD as a business was like that. Much like the jams, there were lots of train wrecks, but somehow it ended up working out well enough that it could seem, from one angle, that they weren't just in synch but almost "controlling the weather."

Lucky for them. But I'd be rather skeptical of a book called The Science of the Grateful Dead: How Music Controls the Weather.



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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 4:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

LOL!! Exactly.
I don't find this "relevance to business" angle any more convincing than I would find a book on how the GD controlled the weather.

How about a book of parenting advice from the Grateful Dead? Or a book of advice from Jerry as a role model for young people ("Overcoming Addiction" by Jerome John Garcia).

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 3:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

I understand about the taping and Bear but as you point out they eventually came around to this and embraced it and that period is still occupies nearly 20 years of their career and was still way ahead of anyone else. Look at all the bands at the LMA who allow taping? Many of these bands actually have links from their own websites to shows at the LMA that can be downloaded. You don't think that any of this was influenced by what the Grateful Dead were doing in for much of their career?

I also think there were other decisions that they made that influenced their "brand loyalty". What about setting up their own ticket distribution system? What about the constant touring? Again I haven't read the book so i don't know if these issues are touched upon, but I think there were other decisions that not only helped build the fan base but maintained it. Even if they stumbled into some of it, they ultimately figured it out and why can't other businesses benefit from what ended up being their model?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 30, 2010 9:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

You defend your point well; I just have a hard time seeing the Dead as a business model in any way.
Yes, they successfully built a relationship with their fans, and their music (or "product") was addictively fantastic (sometimes, anyway). Their attempt to establish a more 'personalized' fanbase (with the newsletter, ticket mail-orders & such) is something other businesses would probably stumble on anyway, without the Dead's example.

But I see them, in large part, as a band created by their fans. For at least the last 10-15 years of their career, all the band had to do was show up. The fans did the rest.

Many of the band's 'policies' were slowly & accidentally arrived at, and were incidental to their success. They built a 'loyal audience' under conditions created by that audience, in spite of anything the Dead could do to hinder that process and stop the downhill slide to success.

Let's see, they created a cycle of events where fans could get blasted on drugs (frequently getting arrested) and partipate in night-long dance orgies, while listening to often awful music. Great business model, anyone can copy it!

Their lead guitarist was a helpless addict who spent much of his career on the verge of death, and refused to make any decisions on band policy. In fact he even stopped speaking onstage, for fear fans would take him seriously.
Good business model?

Their first five years were spent basically bankrupt, living hand-to-mouth, deeply in debt to the record label. They barely bothered with national tours, and scorned the idea of making money or becoming a "success" or selling albums. (Great example for any company!) They thought it would be hilarious to call an album Skullfuck.
Good business model?

Of course, later on they changed their ways and became more 'mainstream' in their album production. Oh, but in their last 15 years, they only managed to put out 2 studio albums because the process was just too difficult for them. And most fans agreed the albums sucked anyway. (Many believed the shows sucked, too.) So the band was forced to tour constantly, more than they wanted to, in places they didn't want to play in, because they had no albums to sell.
Good business model?

And then, another reason for the constant tours after '76 was their constantly swelling road crew (or "employees"), who were regarded as 'family' and were so well-treated (and well-paid), the band considered it too cruel to slow down the tours for a while for rest & rehearsals, as it was more important to keep the money coming in to pay everyone.
Great business model!

Oh, but then there was that one hiatus in '75, which came about because the band sunk all their spiraling funds into an ever-growing sound system that eventually lost them money because it was too expensive to be carried around by the crew of snarling roadies high on mountains of cocaine. It looked cool, though.
Good business model?

And of course, once they got out of the early days when their 'managers' were either fellow druggies or thieves, and started following more conventional plans, they still believed in the idea of 'group meetings' to decide on any policy, whereby family members, soundcrew & roadies, and cool friends would have equal say in any decision. (It would, after all, be too fascist for the band-leaders to actually tell anyone to do anything.) The band would go along with whatever sounded neat.
Good business model?

And let's not forget, the band was derided & ridiculed in most of the media as antique drug-ridden relics, completely out of step with the times. Their fans (or "consumer base") were widely hated & despised as wandering unkempt vagrants; many towns even banned Dead shows to keep the fans away!
Good business model?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 3:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Absolutely hysterical!!! I will definitely buy your book on this topic.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

You have me rolling, this post is hysterical. You have quite summed up the matter.

I would only add, or edit I suppose, your post thus:
It's that "addictively fantastic" part that explains everything else, or explains how it is even remotely possible that despite the other small factors you mention, everything from being completely wasted 85% of the time to the "consumer base" being sometimes literally banned from public places ... that things have nonetheless progressed as they did to where in 2010 they're lauded for having a freakin' "business model."

Come on folks, they were hippies, they didn't have no business model!

This post was modified by ringolevio on 2010-10-30 20:48:50

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

A stronger case could be made that the case of the Grateful Dead shows the value in completely avoiding any business plan at all. The whole thing is really hilarious.

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Oct 31, 2010 7:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

TO LIA, Your post for the most part was spot on. I'd have to say it all begins and ends w/management. I mean loyal but intelligent legal types who can read and disect contracts and all the riders and minutiae that goes w/ it.
Bear should have been given his walking papers so much earlier. Yes he knew some audio -electronics but he was a chemist. The whole idea that you put 6 band members together and then they have make choices of who stays on , no the band's only concern was to turn out the best music period.Look at another example, Pink Floyd had the same growing pains w/a major member being replaced and their sound changeing all the time. But they invested wisely and
started to mold their own monstrous sound system to be a profitable model. Yes the Dead had a booking agency, travel
agency and their own record co. for awhile. none of this
really came together effectively and suffered dearly for it.The WOS went and was pared down Round Records never turned a profit and then you still have 6 guys decideing
who they should fire.No band should ever be put in the position to do that. In the end though I always heard that the Dead was the Highest grossing touring band for consecutive years beating the Stones and U-2.So where did all this cash go?Crew, teamsters, lighting,venues, agents and managers there's still plenty to go around if done correctly.It all starts w/ management and production...

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Poster: pequastogy Date: Oct 31, 2010 6:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Oh, but in their last 15 years, they only managed to put out 2 studio albums because the process was just too difficult for them. And most fans agreed the albums sucked anyway. (Many believed the shows sucked, too.) So the band was forced to tour constantly, more than they wanted to, in places they didn't want to play in, because they had no albums to sell....

As a proud member of the bus, first trip 1982, I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement...two of the finest ballads they wrote came from these albums--standing on the moon and black muddy river--ill throw in touch of grey and west la fadeaway for good measure as two fine songs. And as difficult as it is for the 80's haters to stomach, Just a Little Light ( A Brent song egads!!) The shows, as i remember them, were all sold out. everybody was dancing. They continued to tour not because they had no albums to sell but because they had an enormous group of employees that they felt responsible for and, probably, they didn't know what else to

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 4:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

They can, that all makes sense, I think some people are just disputing whether they did all that deliberately; it seems clearly not. It was something that just evolved haphazardly, it wasn't a "business model" per se at least until fairly late in the game. No question they influenced the music business scene!

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Based on this I have come to the conclusion that i have no idea what the words "business model" mean. Are these things set in stone or are they allowed to evolve? Can't the model be created in real time and then be used as a model for others? Glad i never got a real job.

I think people can learn based on what the grateful dead did, so to me it is a model and I see no problem with applying current jargon to what they did as a means to describe that model. It seems to me that this was AR's beef. I am not sure it matters whether they did this haphazardly, with a set plan from the start or it was something that evolved over time. That only becomes important if someone is writing a history book. I don't think that is what this is.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 7:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

>I see no problem with applying current jargon to what they did as a means to describe that model.

I don't understand science very well, so it might help me to think of white blood cells as little Pac Men eating up the invaders. But of course, that's ultimately trite and inaccurate.

Same with using current jargon to describe what was done in the past. If it helps understanding, well, that's OK on a Science for Dummies level, or for a children's book. Yes, of course, I'm sure there are useful lessons to be had for MBA students in the history of the GD's "business practices." And maybe I should find it affirming that someone noticed. But since I do happen to have rather a passion for historical accuracy and an instinctive dislike of triteness, it just makes me queezy.

Maybe I should just think of that book -- and the "branding" craze in general -- as a kind of literary / cultural chia pet. Then maybe it wouldn't turn my mood ring black :-)




This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2010-10-30 14:02:56

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Fair points, they didn't use it as a "business model" per se in my understanding of the term, but other people can. Sure why not?

I just think at the end of the day it isn't going to work for other people unless they have a product akin to the Dead's, i.e., a "product" that produces bliss.

It's much more usefully studied as a religion than as a business model, IMO!! It's basically a cult.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 6:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Yeah, my first reaction is if you have a really good product that people are passionate about you don't need a plan. I also wonder how informative it is to follow the "plan" of someone who was successful with a really good product. I think it would be far more interesting and inspiring to see the business model of the folks who made money off of chia pets, pet rocks and mood rings. I must go now as my Chia dog's mood ring is black, i better give it some water....

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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

And don't forget the great idea about selling albums out of Ice Cream trucks outside shows.

I would not follow the GD business sense anywhere.

My 2 cents - a lot of what worked out for them in the end was just not being able to say NO to anyone.

As more and more pressure from tapers came on - they just let it happen.

In other words - they just got lucky

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Oct 30, 2010 8:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

I think,also, as the tape trading started happening, they slowly saw that this was different from "bootleggers" making money off their work ( the main people making money from this were TDK, and Maxell), .

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Poster: madmonkmcphee Date: Oct 29, 2010 9:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

It seems like whoever was running the sound had more of a decision on the matter? Are you referring to Sam Cutler's new book?

This post was modified by madmonkmcphee on 2010-10-30 04:48:08

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 29, 2010 10:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

It's a good point, that whoever was at the soundboard may have automatically governed whatever taping policy they had. In many areas the Dead often followed the path of least resistance.

Cutler's new book doesn't mention taping that I recall; I just brought it up to illustrate the early Dead's anti-business ethics. They'd scoff at the mere thought of a 'franchise' or other ridiculous 'straight-world' concepts like, say, selling albums. As they went on through the years, of course, they got sucked more & more into business meetings and that kind of organizational mindset (McNally talks about some later meetings in his book).

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Poster: madmonkmcphee Date: Oct 29, 2010 11:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Good point about the Dead's "business" ethics, never really understood the news craze over Grateful Dead and business practices

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 4:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Althea's got it - this current craze about the "Grateful Dead business model" has little to do with the Grateful Dead. Somebody's trying to brand the "Grateful Dead business model" the way they claim (probably erroneously) that the Grateful Dead branded their music.

Always left out of the analysis is that you need a great product for any of this to work. You can't give away just *any* free product and expect people to go nuts, tell all their friends and family, and remain loyal for decades!! The Grateful Dead made beautiful music, remember????

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 6:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

>Somebody's trying to brand the "Grateful Dead business model" the way they claim (probably erroneously) that the Grateful Dead branded their music.

Exactly. And it's working quite well for them. But it's about as meaningful as "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," or any other trite (and well-branded) ideas that people come up with to sell their books and/or seminars. I'm sure there are insights involved -- be it the Mars Men or the GD Business Lessons -- but it's ultimately shallow, and basically seems like a promotional strategy for the author's/publisher's/workshop provider's wallet.

I don't object to someone selling an idea. But I don't buy it. In either sense of the word.

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Poster: ChefChappy Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

But why. Take a company like McDonalds. Many companies have taken their business model, copied it, made some tweaks that fit their particular brand and became succesful. it all starts with the product but why shouldn't a current band who believes they have the goods look at a band like the dead and try to use the model they created for their own current and future success. A business model doesn't become a model until its successful and there are many American businesses that have taken succesful models, modernized them and created their own brand. Its the American way. What the Grateful Dead did may have happened oganically without any preconcieved thoughts, but it worked and if it can work for other bands, why not study it and tweak it using current trends like the internet.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Marketing it was, by design or accident doesn't matter

Yeah, that's what I was driving at above in part; doesn't matter what you call it, and Rosey is no doubt right at "bleech" toward all these trendy new terms for things that already exist, and folks "pre-dating" how they did it to make sure it fits the new notions, BUT regardless if they knew what they were doing, or when they did if they did, they did "do it" (ie, marketing along the lines of "free stuff! we are not sell outs, and don't want to rip you off...we want you to be a part of our family...write us and tell us about yourself", which I promptly did in 1971, and it worked. I became a huge champion of them.

You all know that from 1970 to 1982 I was a huge PR man for them...seriously; I debated any and all comers as to how unique, how much better, how much more Social Justice (I am DEAD serious--you guys have heard me drone about it all the time here; imagine what a force [farce?] I was when young and energetic and not disabled??) you got by being a HEAD.

Whatever the "truth", the myth at the time was the DEAD were the band that did it right, if by right you meant 60s this and that, anything but a corporate ripoff, something to join and celebrate as a member of the family, blah, blah, blah. We really thought we were thus better than an Eagles fan. Or Zep fan. And that OUR band was different.

Our band promoted sharing. Our band was trying to start their own record company to control quality and make a product for us that was cheaper in price but better in quality. Our band SENT us FREE stuff, like little round records of Hunter, and Garcia, and er...er...Seastones.

They really were different, and we believed they cared, and we certainly cared, and we told everyone we were superior as a result.

There is no tongue in my cheek.

This is why I've always said that in fact, Bob owes me money. But alas, my kids are thru college...

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Marketing it was, by design or accident doesn't matter

Much as I scoff at the idea of a Dead 'business model', WT has a point, as one of the few forumites here who was on the receiving end of their early marketing campaign.

There's no doubt that over 30 years, the Dead experimented with various forms of 'business models' & 'marketing ideas' - their stance in '75 might not reflect what they practiced in '85, and both would be far removed from what they believed in '70. We do know they preferred not to make decisions & just let things happen....so in many cases the Dead were pushed into what's called their 'model'.

The approach Tell talks about is one we're pretty familiar with today. ("We're not corporate money-mongers! We're weird and counter-cultural! We care about you! Tell us about yourselves! Here, have some free samples!" It's like the classic giant-corporation ad campaign these days.)

There's probably a good book to be written about the Dead's business approaches over the years (McNally has a lot of this type info in the rubble of his book - the recent 'marketing' book sounds like it relies more on the authors' theories than on historical research).

Earl Powell has talked in some of his posts about how the Dead became 'anti-marketers', as the mythology grew up around them in the '80s that they were like some traveling circus, where the last American hippie wildlife roamed free, centered on this amateur garage band that sometimes would become magical & sprinkle dazzling fairy-dust on their audiences. And if it didn't happen the night you went, MAYBE it could happen in the next show!

I think there's a lot to be said about how fans spread the word about what kind of band the Dead were and what to expect, and how the 'acid-test' spirit lingered through the generations. The band didn't even need to participate in this process, except by still existing - the myths grew around them as they just blundered from show to show, wondering where all these young crowds were coming from...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 30, 2010 12:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Celebrities and the myths about them...a long time ago

I must support Arb on this...in the 1840s there were a great many CELEBRITIES. Davy Crockett was one; the novels about the West were very much in this spirit. Buff Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hick, W Earp, etc., etc.

This is a TRUE story, verified by Kit Carson himself, and a number of military officers with him on the rescue: the woman he was in charge of liberating from the Indians literally had in her possession a dime store novel that had been written about Kit Carson doing EXACTLY (well, virtually) what was described in the book (ie, rescuing a white woman held by plains Indians, etc).

Talk about irony: she died in the attempt, and then they found the book, the only difference between "real life" and the "storyline" being her death. He predicted they would kill her if they rushed to the rescue but he couldn't hold back the overzealous military folk, blah, blah, blah.

I know this was just a minor tangent of your post, but trust me--it's amazing to find out how much of the mythologizing and the celebrity status of folks we think only became heros much later actually occurred "in the day", at least by the time of the printing press, and esp in the time of the "wild west".

Second, I must also echo L's pt: whatever you want to call it, the whole "we will make them" or "others may make them, no we changed our minds--er, okay, you can" biz on taping and the DEAD is very much an active debate/discussion in the biz world, and the economics of it have been tackled in many an esoteric, ivory tower manuscript form.

The bottom line (har, har!) is that most agree whether they were consistent about it, or knew exactly what the pay off was (and when they knew it), they DEFN did BENEFIT from it, and at various times, though contradictions abound, more or less allude to recognizing it was a good thing (them letting folks tape them, letting folks trade tapes, whatever).

Not sure where this started, but I'd vote for taping and sharing is good biz practice, and you could be a downright celebrity in the middle of the 1800s...

Does that get us anywhere?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 7:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Celebrities and the myths about them...a long time ago

>in the 1840s there were a great many CELEBRITIES.

But the term wasn't used -- e.g., you "had celebrity," you weren't "a celebrity" -- and much like "these United States" (pre-CW) vs "the United States," there IS a difference. Same country? Yeah, sure. Same sense of it? Well, no one thought it was Turkey, but no, the sense of its nature was different. Because language and discourse encapsulate and frame perception.

There's a kind of baggage or subtle set of associations that goes with the contemporary term "celebrity" that would have misleading implications when applied to a different time, just as the term "branding" simply has misleading implications when applied to the GD, because the term itself contains and implies and carries along with it a whole array of other concepts that you really can't extricate from the term itself.

For instance, "being" a "celebrity" doesn't equal being "famous;" it implies a kind of PR machine, a celebrity-focused pop media culture, etc., that simply didn't exist in, say, the 1840s. Similarly, the notion of "branding" implies a complex and manipulated intentionality, focused discussion of image creation, etc., that is very 2000s. Consequently, to use the term to refer to a band's image and spreading of its music in the early GD era skews the conversation and perception.

Yeah, I know women chased famous men in the 1840s, Dickens was hounded on his US tour, etc etc. But the past truly is a different culture. Even the relatively recent past. Not an unrecognizable one, not a "better" or more innocent one or a less developed version of today, but different. The use of trendy terms like "branding" to describe it is misleading and ahistorical and can do more to inhibit understanding than to further it. That's all I'm saying :-)

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2010-10-31 02:09:13

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 30, 2010 10:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Celebrities and the myths about them...a long time ago

I hear ya, and I am just arguing that elements of what you are describing did in fact happen, and now we have a term for it...I agree you can't back date it precisely, but it works in reverse too: things were done prior that in many ways worked along the lines of the New Age/current concepts, as much as the implications of the new terms don't fit (and are often an abstraction, a "myth" even now).

Many of those historic celebrities fought the characterization, many embraced it, and made money off it...Kit Carson hated his, made no money off it, while Buff Bill did...Geronimo even posed for drinks in the end, perhaps not unlike Jerry playing for Persian?

Anyhow, the myth of the DEAD I had was anticorporate, that by defn became the "new corporate", and what they did in some ways is what folks today call branding, in part, but without the cynicism of today.

I think the DEAD really believed they could make a better record, make it for an enlarged family and friends, support both fan and manufactoring folks, and yup, some today think this kind of naive corporate model is ideal, "small biz American ideal."

And I agree that labeling it has in many ways diminished it; no longer sincere, spontaneous, blah, blah, blah.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 29, 2010 8:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

"Brand loyalty"? "Franchise"? "Consumers"? Oh, blechhhh.

Good smart angle for a book -- it's a catchy title and concept that makes for effective marketing, as you can tell from all the press it's gotten -- but all that branding talk is 2010-Speak. It's completely lacking in historicity.

Here's a comparison. Does anyone recall how, in the movie Dances With Wolves, the protagonist makes a reference to being a "celebrity"? This is the same sort of thing. Anachronistic concepts and phrasing. While people "had celebrity" in the 1860s, they weren't "celebrities." And while the GD obviously were trying to sell tickets and records and create a fan base, and while they obviously did things that worked out for them business-wise, and while there were obviously brands in the 60s (McDonalds, etc), "branding" a band is just not a late 60s, early 70s concept.

They had fans. Not consumers. They wanted to be popular. Not be "a brand." Someone might argue that it's just a matter of word use. But language matters, because language is part of discourse, and discourse forms perception. (You can't talk about, say, people "parenting" in the 1960s or 1860s or, say, in a tribal culture for the same reason. Or about crinolines being "hip." Or about it being "politically incorrect" to be in favor of the king in Jefferson's household. Because that's projecting present discourse into the past or into another culture, and it's consequently both inaccurate and shallow.)

Anyway, I think there are several topics here. To what extent were the things that the GD did in terms of their audience (taping etc) intentional? To what extent did they set a model that was outside-the-box for the time but turned out to be somewhat prescient? And to what extent can it meaningfully be called "branding" in the contemporary sense?

But they didn't have "a franchise." Hmmm, maybe that's part of why so much music today is so unexciting ... because people DO think of music as a potential "franchise" ...

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Oct 30, 2010 11:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

despite the linguistic distinction & differences between then and now, and what 'celebrities' were referred to as, most assuredly there were celebrities, altho the marketing & press machines were far less mature than what we are confronted with today; read a bio of Charles Dickens for just one example; on his i believe final trip to America he was absolutely lionized; in fact the lack of immediate and instanteous media sources elevated public personas to a much greater degree in the public's imagination, leading to all sorts of myths and half-truths about those who strutted the world stage; a bio of Harry Houdini is quite revealing as well for how he mezmerized the population, call him whatever you will

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Oct 30, 2010 9:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

re: branding; loyalty; franchise; consumers; and AltheaRose's point:

"Good smart angle for a book -- it's a catchy title and concept that makes for effective marketing, as you can tell from all the press it's gotten -- but all that branding talk is 2010-Speak. It's completely lacking in history. "

I have 2 words (or terms) describing their "brands" --
T-shirts & blue jeans

At the end of the day, when you put aside their musical playing, songs, setlists, sound system, taping policy or lack thereof, albums, and the like -- what you're left with is: what's the Band actually "like"? How do they compare to regular people, just like you and me?

The answer is simple. They're just like us in appearance. They're part of the scene... Our Scene. For the most part, they always were wearing blue jeans and t-shirts on stage, at every show I ever witnessed... making me feel like I'm part of their scene.

Oppositely, Michael Jackson set the bar for extravaganza. Britney Spears has set the bar for lip-synching.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

Gosh - I never thought about this before, but you're totally right.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 3:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

I think the fun part of looking through the retrospectascope is that one can analyze what people did in the past in today's terms. I haven't read the book, however I doubt they are suggesting the band had used such terms, i know i wasn't. However I believe that visionaries exist in history who do things or act in ways that are way ahead of their time. We wouldn't all be here today discussing this if they hadn't built brand loyalty, right? These may not have all been active decisions, but they worked so what is wrong with looking back at something that worked and saying that this is a model of how to successfully build what businesses now crave?

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Poster: user unknown Date: Oct 29, 2010 8:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

hear hear

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 4:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: MSNBC and the Dead

Thank you, I think that sums it up exactly right!